Page last updated at 17:00 GMT, Friday, 8 August 2008 18:00 UK

Egypt in European visa complaint

By Magdi Abdelhadi
BBC News

Passport control at Warsaw airport
Egyptians trying to visit Europe say they face too much red tape

Egypt has protested to European embassies in Cairo about what it has described as the mistreatment of Egyptians applying for entry visas.

The Egyptian foreign ministry said the embassies were applying visa rules arbitrarily, and not treating Egyptians with respect and dignity.

A spokesman said European envoys would be summoned and told in clear terms that such treatment was unacceptable.

He said there had been an unprecedented number of complaints from applicants.

The spokesman said he did not expect Europeans to change their rules, but that these should be applied in a fairer manner.

European states have very strict regulations regarding visas for visitors from Middle Eastern countries.

These often require that the applicant should have a return ticket, a bank statement and proof of employment in the country of residence.

The rules are designed to ensure that the applicant is not someone who may try to stay and work illegally in Europe.

Egyptians often complain not only about these restrictions, but also about the way they are being treated by some consular staff who are often - though not always - Egyptian nationals.

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